September 2007 Archives

The title of this post might be the shortest lesson plan ever written by a traditional teacher (“Test Friday,” he could add if he felt talkative). New and improved teachers, at least those familiar with the writing process, may recognize these directions as steps one and two of how to share your paper in a workshop setting. The idea is that after reading the piece out loud, an author has to step out of the way and listen to his group’s response in order to understand what is actually coming across to the reader. This is sometimes very different ...


Writer’s workshop is fundamental in my teaching. A writing teacher and colleague of mine, Vic Kryston, explains perfectly why it works so well: “Vic Kryston is the most interesting person in the room.” Nancy Atwell, author of the seminal 80s how-to In the Middle and now a brand unto herself in education circles, can fairly be called the mother of writer’s workshop, at least in terms of using it with kids in the classroom. From her I’ve borrowed a term now in wide currency in writing instruction, “writing territories,” asking my students this year to write about ...


I want to write a book that for now I’ll call, “Where Kids Work Hard.” The idea is to promote student-centered as opposed to teacher-centered teaching. But, I’m feeling a little intimidated by the whole idea and don’t quite know where to start. Dashing off a blog post in a sitting is one thing. But a sustained masterwork of utter brilliance… Just as Certifiable helped me eat the elephant of the National Board portfolio one bite at a time, I hope Eduholic can help me build this book. To that end, here’s an example of kids ...


My three-year old son has watched Old Yeller hundreds of times and thinks he’s Travis (“Tavis,” he says), a wild west boy who knows how to track hogs and says “Get ‘im boy,” to his dog. (Our puppy, Bee, is enthusiastic but doesn’t have the instinct to run a fox to ground.) As part of Will River’s developmental acquisition of language, in addition to the frontierisms, he has somehow picked up a useful if inappropriate expletive, “Oh, sh*t!” I’m chagrined that he uses it, but at least he does so at the right times, like ...


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